Let's start with you telling us a little bit about yourself, Cari.
I’m a ninja whose knees are finally giving out on her. It’ll be a sad day when I can’t backflip from my roof to my porch while throwing shuriken at enemy assassins. That’s the mid-thirties for you, I guess.
What would people be most surprised to learn about you?
Shockingly, I’m not actually a ninja! I do play around a lot with knives, though, that part’s entirely serious. My daily carry is a Spyderco tactical folder with a pink handle, because I’m nothing if not intent on balancing my yin and yang.
When did you start writing, is it something you've always been interested in, or did it develop later in life?
I filled dozens of notebooks with meandering writing and accompanying illustrations as a kid. I still have some of them, both because they’re hilarious in that inner-embarrassment kind of way and also because, darn it, they’re my start and I’m as proud as I am aghast.
Has it been everything you thought it would be or not?
There’s been less drinking in garrets than I thought there might be, and also fewer movie deals. But the process keeps getting easier and more fun, which I appreciate.
How did it feel when you realized that your very first book was going to be published?
I thought it might be a fever dream. I lived in a place at the time where heatstroke-induced hallucinations were very possible. I was thrilled, though, and that book is still one of my favorites.
What's your favorite part of writing a book?
Finishing one. There’s nothing like finishing a book to reinforce that, holy crap, this can be done! Starting is fun but finishing is incredibly satisfying.
Do you get time to read for pleasure? If so, which books do you enjoy?
I like anything Terry Pratchett, classic and campy sci-fi, Regency-era romance, and Japanese epics like Taiko and Musashi.
Are there any other genres you'd be interested in writing?
I have ambitions toward hard sci-fi, the kind that you actually have to have some grounding in astrophysics to do well. Unfortunately I don’t have that grounding, but I’m working on it.
Please tell us a little about your most recent release.
Worth A Shot is a sweet short story about roommates, young love, and dark secrets that come knocking on your door and scaring the hell out of you. I haven’t written a lot of f/f romance, but I got the idea and then saw the call for Pride’s lesbian anthology and just had to go for it.
What can we look forward to in the future from you?
I’ve got an urban fantasy novel coming out in January from NineStar Press, and a co-authored romantic suspense coming from Riptide in May.
Anything you want to say to your readers?
Thank you for reading! Seriously, I love that you’ve given me a try. I’ve got a lot of free content available in addition to my paid work, so follow my blog and I’ll give you ALL THE OPTIONS!
Cari Z.'s recent releases
Worth a Shot at Pride Publishing
Samara Wynne thinks she’s finally found the perfect roommate, but Katie’s keeping a secret that could turn their dream home into a nightmare.
Samara Wynne was dreading getting a roommate, but Katie Hansen changed her mind. Katie is everything she could want—she likes Sam’s cooking, she shares her dog when Sam’s feeling low, and there are signs that Sam’s one-sided attraction to her renter might not be so one-sided after all. Katie is safety-conscious to the point of paranoia, though, and she won’t quite tell Sam why.
When a thoughtless mistake by Sam leads to their home-sweet-home being violated, it’s the beginning of the end of everything she had hoped for them. With no home, and no Katie, what does Sam have to look forward to anymore? Fortunately for her, Katie isn’t as ready to give up on them as Sam thought.
Changing Worlds at Dreamspinner Press
Their love will either inspire change in the world or tear it apart.
Former starship captain Jason Kim and his lover, Ferran, are starting a life together on Ferran’s native planet. The Perel matriarchs reluctantly allowed their marriage in the hopes of securing better diplomatic relations with humanity, even though the decision ignites anger from traditionalists. Ferran’s family accepts Jason and the love the two men have found, but other influential families are less accommodating and much less willing to welcome an outsider to their isolated, subterranean world. Some of their enemies are willing to go as far as eliminating Jason permanently. Tensions are quickly building toward a breaking point that might push Perelan into a bloody civil war.
If Jason and Ferran have any hope of surviving the coming conflict, they’ll have to rely on their devotion to each other more than ever before. But that won’t be easy when a figure from Jason’s past reappears to make them question everything.
Friendly Fire at Riptide Publishing
In a battle of wills, stubbornness could cost you your live....
Elliot McKenzie is the king of reinvention. Five years after losing his job and his lover and almost going to prison, his self-help program, Charmed Life, is more successful than he’d ever dreamed. He thinks he’s put his sordid past firmly behind him, until he starts receiving cryptic threats . . . and realizes it might not be as over as he’d hoped.
Security expert Lennox West has been lost since a deadly skirmish in Afghanistan led to his forced retirement from the Army. His PTSD makes helping his ex raise their daughter a challenge. When his ex’s sister asks him to set her boss up with a security system, Lennox isn’t expecting anyone like Elliot McKenzie—a man who captures his attention and makes him feel relaxed for the first time since leaving the service.
But Elliot is dangerously stubborn. Even as the threats against him escalate, he refuses to involve the police, and Lennox fears that stubbornness could kill him. A battle of wills ensues that brings them closer to each other than either man expected. But if the threats turn real, they might not live long enough to get their future together.
Excerpt from Worth a Shot:
Oh, Denver. God damn you and your massive influx of newcomers, your skyrocketing rental rates and your inability to produce enough housing for everybody. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the new blood, but you know how many of them were looking for a place to live? Almost all of them.
You’d think that would be good, since I needed to rent half my duplex, but in reality? It just muddied the waters with so many candidates that I couldn’t tell good from bad on paper, because everybody was trying to make themselves out to be perfect. And separating the real McCoy from the pretenders was hard. I mean, like, destroying the Death Star hard. You could see the pinhole target you were shooting for, but none of the shots went in. It was kind of a phallic metaphor, which really wasn’t my thing at all, but it fit.
Sure, maybe it was easy if a girl didn’t have standards. For instance, I could have taken the guy who showed up smelling like an open bottle of Drano with everything he owned obviously stuffed into his car. He was willing to pay cash, three months up front, but he wouldn’t give me an ID. Hell to the no, and get your beater out of my driveway before someone associates me with your Ford Fiesta, pal.
Then there was Bachelor Number Two, who seemed nice enough until we got to the subject of pets. “Your ad didn’t say anything about no dogs,” he ventured, and I nodded.
“Right, a dog would be fine.”
“Cool, cool. What about cats?”
“How about a gator?”
“An alligator. I’d keep her in the tub, I promise. Except when she needs to stretch her legs, but I’d let you know before I let her out in the back. Is the fence solid?”
I didn’t know what a solid enough fence would be for an alligator, but I had a feeling that mine wasn’t going to do the trick. Thank God. “Actually, no. It’s completely porous, wouldn’t keep in a kitten, much less an alligator.”